The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) is pleased that Gov. Tom Wolf has stated he will not veto House Bill 1801 and will instead allow the bill to become law on March 27 providing an education budget for fiscal year 2015-16. This announcement and the $200 million increase for education in House Bill 1801 come at a critical time as more schools are nearing the end of their financial rope.
“We applaud PSBA members and school district communities in all of their outreach to the legislature and governor advocating for a budget to be enacted for this fiscal year. On behalf of school entities across the state, we thank the General Assembly and governor for bringing the current crisis to an end,” said PSBA Executive Director Nathan Mains. “While we appreciate the governor’s persistence with pushing for much-needed education funding increases, the $200 million in HB 1801 will keep doors open and allow schools to focus on educating children. There are still challenges ahead on the 2016-17 budget, which must be passed by June 30 to ensure that schools can enter into the next academic year with confidence.”
It remains to be seen how the money will be pushed out to districts in the absence of a fiscal code bill and other important legislative components. Unfortunately, the bill that will become law does nothing for PlanCon construction reimbursements, pension reform or put into place the much needed bipartisan Basic Education Funding formula. As the governor decides to distribute the available funding, it’s important to ensure that all school entities have enough funding and resources to remain open through the end of the school year. PSBA will continue to work with its members and policymakers to make all of these a reality.
To ensure that school districts are not forced into a similar financial crisis in future years, PSBA also calls on the legislature and the governor to:
- Reimburse districts for any and all interest payments they have or will have to make as a result of borrowing money due to the state's lack of fiscal responsibility
- Pass both short- and long-term pension reform that would provide cost control and saving measures for school employers
- Provide adequate funding moving forward through timely completion of the 2016-17 state budget by June 30, 2016
- Enact the bipartisan Basic Education Funding formula
CONTACT: Steve Robinson, Senior Director of Communication, 717-506-2450, x-3315